12 Best Things to Do in Fethiye, Turkey: Top Attractions to Visit

by Flora
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Fethiye is one of those places that’s hard to sum up in just a few words. It’s a mix of ancient ruins, stunning beaches, and vibrant markets. While many travelers flock to Istanbul or Cappadocia, those in the know head to Fethiye for a more laid-back vibe and a touch of the Mediterranean.

The town offers a perfect blend of Turkish tradition and modern amenities. Wander through its streets, and you’ll find bazaars selling spices next to chic cafes serving up world-class cuisine. Dive into its history, and you’ll discover Lycian rock tombs and ancient amphitheaters. But it’s not just about the past; Fethiye is very much alive and buzzing with energy.

Every trip here reveals something new, whether it’s a hidden beach, a local eatery, or a stunning hiking trail. Beyond the main attractions, Fethiye has a rich tapestry of experiences waiting for travelers. From boat trips around its shimmering coastline to the aromatic scents of traditional Turkish dishes in local restaurants, there’s always something to captivate your senses. If you’re looking for a destination that combines history, nature, and culture, Fethiye is the place to be. To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Fethiye, Turkey.

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Best Places to Visit in Fethiye

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Fethiye? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this captivating vacation spot in Turkey. So keep reading to discover all these unique Fethiye places to visit.

Are you looking to go hiking, try paragliding, and take boat tours? Or would you prefer to explore the rich historical and cultural heritage of the region through visits to ancient ruins and traditional markets? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Fethiye can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Fethiye that you should know about.

1. Ölüdeniz

Ölüdeniz is often the first image that pops up when you search for Fethiye, and for a good reason. This stunning blue lagoon, with its turquoise waters and soft sandy shores, is a paradise for beach lovers. The name “Ölüdeniz” translates to “Dead Sea” due to its calm waters, even during storms. This serene lagoon is surrounded by lush green forests and majestic mountains, adding to its breathtaking beauty. It’s a hotspot for paragliding, with adventurers taking off from the nearby Babadağ Mountain and soaring over the lagoon, offering them unparalleled views.

Among the best things to do in Fethiye, spending a day at Ölüdeniz should be on top of your list. While the beach is perfect for relaxation, the surrounding area offers a plethora of activities. You can hop on a boat tour, explore nearby Butterfly Valley, or simply enjoy the local eateries serving delicious Turkish cuisine. The lagoon is also a protected area, ensuring its natural beauty remains untouched. For those looking to stay overnight, there are numerous accommodations ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts.

Whether you're a thrill-seeker or seeking relaxation by the beach, Ölüdeniz accommodates everyone's preferences.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or seeking relaxation by the beach, Ölüdeniz accommodates everyone’s preferences.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or someone looking to unwind by the beach, Ölüdeniz caters to all.

2. Fethiye Rock Tombs

High above the town, carved into the cliffs, the Fethiye Rock Tombs are a testament to the region’s rich history. These ancient Lycian tombs date back to the 4th century BC and offer a glimpse into the burial practices of the time. The most prominent of these is the Tomb of Amyntas, which stands out due to its grand façade and intricate carvings.

Visiting these tombs is not only about history but also the adventure of getting there. A short hike up the hill will lead you to these archaeological wonders. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Fethiye and its stunning coastline. It’s a sight that makes the climb worth every step.

Delving into the Fethiye Rock Tombs offers insight into Fethiye's history and the ancient civilizations that prospered in this region.
Delving into the Fethiye Rock Tombs offers insight into Fethiye’s history and the ancient civilizations that prospered in this region.

While the tombs themselves are impressive, the stories behind them add another layer of intrigue. The Lycians believed that their dead would be transported to the afterlife by a winged siren. This is why they placed their tombs on cliffs. Exploring this site gives you a deeper understanding of Fethiye’s past and the civilizations that once thrived here. It’s a must-visit for history buffs and those looking to dive deeper into the region’s culture.

3. Saklikent Gorge

Saklikent Gorge, one of the deepest in Europe, is a natural marvel just a short drive from Fethiye. Stretching over 18 kilometers, this canyon is a testament to the power of nature, with its towering walls and icy cold waters flowing through. A Jeep Safari to Saklikent Gorge is one of those best things to do in Kas that you’ll be talking about long after your trip is over. 

Visitors can walk along the wooden platforms, feeling the mist from the rushing water on their faces. The first part of the gorge is accessible to most, with pathways leading you through the narrowest sections. As you venture further, the terrain becomes more challenging, appealing to the more adventurous souls. Here, you can wade through the water, climb over rocks, and discover hidden waterfalls.

When it comes to the top activities in Fethiye, exploring Saklikent Gorge is a standout experience.
When it comes to the top activities in Fethiye, exploring Saklikent Gorge is a standout experience.

Among the coolest things to do in Fethiye, exploring Saklikent Gorge stands out. Not only does it offer a break from the heat with its shaded paths, but it also has cool waters. Additionally, it provides a unique adventure experience. After exploring, nearby restaurants built over the water are perfect for a relaxing meal. With fresh trout from the river and traditional Turkish dishes, it’s the ideal way to refuel after your adventure.

4. Butterfly Valley

Just south of Fethiye lies a hidden gem that many travelers might overlook: Butterfly Valley. This secluded spot, accessible only by boat or a challenging hike, is a haven for nature lovers. The valley gets its name from the numerous butterfly species that call it home, especially the unique Jersey Tiger butterfly.

The steep cliffs surrounding the valley create a dramatic backdrop for the pristine beach below. It’s a place where you can truly disconnect, as there’s no Wi-Fi and limited facilities. Instead, you’ll find simple wooden huts, hammocks strung between trees, and a laid-back atmosphere that encourages relaxation.

For those in Fethiye looking for a unique, lesser-known adventure, a day in Butterfly Valley is a must-do.
For those in Fethiye looking for a unique, lesser-known adventure, a day in Butterfly Valley is a must-do.

For those looking for a bit of adventure, there are hiking trails leading up the cliffs. These trails offer panoramic views of the turquoise waters and the valley below. And while the beach is a major draw, the real charm of Butterfly Valley lies in its untouched nature and tranquil vibe.

If you’re in Fethiye and seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience, spending a day in Butterfly Valley is a must. Even considering a night there should be on your list. It’s a reminder of the raw beauty that Turkey offers beyond its popular tourist spots.

5. Kayaköy

A short drive from Fethiye takes you to Kayaköy, a village that stands frozen in time. Once a bustling community, it’s now an eerie ghost town, with over 500 abandoned stone houses, churches, and schools. The residents, both Greek and Turkish, lived harmoniously until the 1920s. A population exchange between Greece and Turkey left the village deserted.

Walking through its cobbled streets, you can’t help but feel the weight of history. The empty homes, with their windows and doors missing, tell a silent tale of the lives that once thrived here. It’s a poignant reminder of the region’s complex past.

Exploring Kayaköy is among the distinctive activities in Fethiye, providing a one-of-a-kind experience.
Exploring Kayaköy is among the distinctive activities in Fethiye, providing a one-of-a-kind experience.

Among the unique things to do in Fethiye, exploring Kayaköy offers a different kind of experience. It’s not about the stunning landscapes or turquoise waters but about connecting with a bygone era. While it might sound somber, there’s a certain beauty in the silence and the stories that the ruins hold.

For those interested in history and culture, Kayaköy is a must-visit. And if you’re up for it, there are hiking trails that connect the village to Ölüdeniz. These trails offer both historical and natural experiences in one go.

6. Calis Beach

Just a stone’s throw from Fethiye’s bustling center lies Calis Beach, a serene stretch of coastline perfect for those looking to unwind. While Fethiye boasts numerous beaches, Calis stands out for its laid-back atmosphere and stunning sunsets. It’s not the kind of place where you’ll find throngs of party-goers. Instead, it’s where both locals and travelers come to relax and soak in the Mediterranean vibes.

The beachfront promenade is lined with a variety of restaurants and cafes, offering everything from traditional Turkish dishes to international cuisine. Grab a seat, order a cold drink, and watch as the sky paints itself in hues of orange and pink. The gentle sound of waves combined with the distant chatter of diners creates a soothing backdrop.

Calis Beach, balancing leisure and excitement, perfectly represents Fethiye's wide-ranging attractions.
Calis Beach, balancing leisure and excitement, perfectly represents Fethiye’s wide-ranging attractions.

For those looking to be a bit more active, there are water sports available, from jet skiing to paddleboarding. And if you’re visiting during the summer months, keep an eye out for the turtle nests dotted along the beach. Calis Beach, with its mix of relaxation and activity, truly encapsulates the diverse offerings of Fethiye.

7. Tlos Ancient City

When it comes to Fethiye things to do, diving into the region’s rich history is a must. Tlos Ancient City, perched on a hill overlooking the Xanthos Valley, is one of the oldest and most significant Lycian cities in southwestern Turkey. It’s a testament to the many civilizations that have been here. From the Lycians to the Romans and the Ottomans, they all once called this place home.

The ruins are expansive, with remnants of a Roman-era stadium, an acropolis, and even an ancient theater that once seated thousands. As you wander through the site, it’s hard not to be impressed. The intricate stone carvings and the sheer scale of the ancient structures are awe-inspiring. The views from the top, overlooking the fertile valley below, are nothing short of breathtaking.

Tlos Ancient City is among southwestern Turkey's oldest and most vital Lycian cities with stunning vistas.
Tlos Ancient City is among southwestern Turkey’s oldest and most vital Lycian cities with stunning vistas.

Nearby, you’ll find the tomb of Bellerophon, a hero from Greek mythology, accompanied by his winged horse, Pegasus. It’s these layers of history and myth that make Tlos a fascinating stop on any Fethiye itinerary. While the beaches and bazaars are great, a visit to Tlos offers a deeper understanding of the region’s past.

8. Paspatur Old Town

Dive into the heart of Fethiye by exploring Paspatur Old Town, the historic and vibrant core of the city. Often referred to as the “Old Market“, this area is a maze of narrow streets lined with traditional shops, boutiques, and cafes. It’s where old meets new, and where you can get a real sense of local life.

The bustling bazaars offer everything from handcrafted jewelry to aromatic spices and Turkish delights. As you wander, you’ll come across the ancient Hamam (Turkish bath). It’s a perfect spot to relax and experience a traditional Turkish massage. Nearby, the Fountains Square is a hub of activity. Especially in the evenings, locals gather to chat, dine, and enjoy live music.

Paspatur Old Town in Fethiye offers a glimpse of its vibrant culture and history, making it a must-visit for travelers.
Paspatur Old Town in Fethiye offers a glimpse of its vibrant culture and history, making it a must-visit for travelers.

For foodies, Paspatur is a paradise. Try some authentic Turkish dishes at the local eateries, or sip on a cup of traditional Turkish tea at a streetside cafe. The atmosphere here, especially as the sun sets and the lanterns light up, is both lively and enchanting. It’s a slice of Fethiye that showcases its rich culture and history, making it a must-visit for any traveler.

9. Gemiler Island

Just a short boat ride from Fethiye lies Gemiler Island, a haven for history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike. This island isn’t your typical beach destination; it’s steeped in history and shrouded in mystery. The Byzantine ruins scattered across the island tell tales of ancient civilizations and religious pilgrimages.

Start your exploration with a series of churches dating back to the 4th century. The intricate mosaics and stone pathways give a glimpse into the island’s rich past. As you hike up the hill, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the turquoise waters and the distant St. Nicholas Island.

Gemiler Island isn't merely a day excursion; it's a voyage through history.
Gemiler Island isn’t merely a day excursion; it’s a voyage through history.

While the historical sites are a major draw, the island’s natural beauty is equally captivating. The serene beaches, though pebbly, are perfect for a relaxing swim. And if you’re up for some adventure, the surrounding waters are ideal for snorkeling, revealing a vibrant marine life.

Gemiler Island is more than just a day trip; it’s a journey back in time. It’s a reminder of the region’s diverse history and the blend of cultures that once thrived here. A visit here is undoubtedly one of the top things to experience in Fethiye.

10. Afkule Monastery

Perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, the Afkule Monastery offers a blend of history and breathtaking views. This ancient Byzantine monastery, carved into the cliffs, is a testament to the dedication of the monks who once lived here. The journey to the monastery itself is an adventure. A rugged path leads you through pine forests and offers occasional glimpses of the azure waters below.

Among the best things to do in Fethiye, visiting Afkule Monastery gives travelers a unique perspective on the region’s religious history. The interior, though now in ruins, showcases remnants of frescoes and inscriptions. As you explore, it’s hard not to be awed. The sheer determination it must have taken to build a sanctuary in such a challenging location is impressive.

Afkule Monastery in Fethiye offers a unique view of the region's religious history, making it a top attraction.
Afkule Monastery in Fethiye offers a unique view of the region’s religious history, making it a top attraction.

But it’s not just the history that draws visitors. The panoramic views from the monastery are unparalleled. Gazing out over the Mediterranean, you’ll feel on top of the world. For those seeking a mix of adventure, history, and natural beauty, Afkule Monastery ticks all the boxes.

11. Fethiye Museum

Dive deep into the rich tapestry of Fethiye’s past at the Fethiye Museum. Located in the heart of the town, this museum might be compact. However, it’s brimming with artifacts that tell the story of the region’s ancient civilizations. From the Lycians to the Romans, Fethiye has been a melting pot of cultures, and this museum captures that essence brilliantly.

The exhibits are well-organized, making it easy for visitors to follow the timeline of Fethiye’s history. You’ll find intricately designed jewelry, ancient coins, and impressive statues. One of the highlights is the Trilingual Stele, an inscribed stone that played a crucial role in deciphering the Lycian language.

While Fethiye's natural beauty draws many tourists, the Fethiye Museum stands out as a unique cultural attraction.
While Fethiye’s natural beauty draws many tourists, the Fethiye Museum stands out as a unique cultural attraction.

Beyond the main exhibits, the Fethiye Museum has a notable collection. It boasts pottery, tools, and weapons used by the ancient inhabitants of the region. These artifacts provide a glimpse into the daily lives, trade, and warfare techniques of the civilizations that once thrived here.

While many travelers come to Fethiye for its beaches and natural beauty, the Fethiye Museum is special. It offers a chance to connect with the area’s deep-rooted history. The museum is a reminder that this coastal town has layers of stories waiting to be uncovered. For history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike, a visit here is time well spent.

12. Babadağ Mountain

If you’re hunting for a thrilling experience that showcases Fethiye’s natural beauty, paragliding from Babadağ Mountain is a must-do. Babadağ stands at a majestic 1,969 meters. It isn’t just a towering figure in Fethiye’s landscape; the mountain is also globally recognized as a top paragliding launch point.

The journey to the launch point atop Babadağ is an adventure in itself. As you ascend the winding roads, the air becomes cooler, and the panoramic views become increasingly breathtaking. Before the flight, participants are given a comprehensive safety briefing, ensuring that even those new to the sport feel confident and secure. The equipment used is state-of-the-art, undergoing regular checks and maintenance to guarantee the utmost safety.

For an unforgettable experience showcasing Fethiye's natural beauty, don't miss paragliding from Babadağ Mountain.
For an unforgettable experience showcasing Fethiye’s natural beauty, don’t miss paragliding from Babadağ Mountain.

The sensation of taking that first leap off the mountain is exhilarating. You feel the wind rushing past and see the world opening up below. The tranquility that follows, floating above Fethiye, is almost meditative. The gentle currents allow for a smooth flight. On clear days, it’s even possible to see neighboring towns and islands.

Guided by seasoned instructors, beginners and experienced paragliders alike can savor this unique aerial tour of Fethiye. Touching down on the famous Ölüdeniz Beach brings a unique feeling. It’s a mix of accomplishment and awe, having viewed Fethiye from a perspective usually reserved for birds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Fethiye

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Fethiye? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Fethiye:

What’s the best time to visit Fethiye?

The prime months to explore Fethiye are during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). These periods offer mild weather, fewer tourists, and a variety of local festivals. It’s the perfect balance between comfortable travel conditions and cultural immersion.

Is Fethiye safe for tourists?

Fethiye, being a popular tourist hub in Turkey, maintains a good safety record. While it’s generally safe for visitors, it’s always smart to exercise standard travel precautions, especially in busier areas. Stay aware of your surroundings and keep personal belongings secure.

How do I get around Fethiye?

The town boasts an efficient minibus system called dolmuş, which runs regularly. Taxis are readily available, but for those seeking a bit of adventure, renting a scooter or bicycle offers a unique perspective of the town and its surroundings.

Are there any local dishes I should try?

Certainly! Fethiye’s culinary scene is rich. Savor the traditional gözleme, a type of Turkish pastry, or relish the fresh seafood dishes available at the harbor. The bustling local markets also present a plethora of spices, sweets, and other delicacies.

With ancient Lycian ruins and delicious Turkish cuisine, Fethiye provides a one-of-a-kind experience that's truly unmatched.
With ancient Lycian ruins and delicious Turkish cuisine, Fethiye provides a one-of-a-kind experience that’s truly unmatched.

Can I do a day trip to nearby places from Fethiye?

Fethiye’s strategic location makes it a gateway to several attractions. Destinations like Ölüdeniz, Kayaköy, and Butterfly Valley are within a short distance, making them perfect for day excursions. Each offers a distinct experience, from beaches to historical sites.

Is Fethiye family-friendly?

Without a doubt. Fethiye caters to travelers of all ages. Its beaches, parks, and attractions like the ECHO Leahy Center ensure that families have a plethora of activities to choose from, making it an ideal destination for those with children.

Is Fethiye worth visiting?

Absolutely! Fethiye is a gem on Turkey‘s Turquoise Coast. It’s not just the stunning beaches or the azure waters that draw travelers; it’s the blend of history, nature, and vibrant local culture. From ancient Lycian ruins to bustling markets and delectable Turkish cuisine, Fethiye offers a unique experience that’s hard to match. It’s a destination that seamlessly combines relaxation with adventure.

What is Fethiye known for?

Fethiye is renowned for its diverse attractions. It’s home to the world-famous Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon, a haven for paragliders and beach lovers. The town boasts ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into cliffs, offering a glimpse into its rich history. The Ghost Town of Kayaköy tells tales of past civilizations, while the local markets brim with spices, textiles, and crafts. It’s a place where history, nature, and culture intertwine beautifully.

Concluding Thoughts on Exploring Fethiye

Fethiye is one of those destinations that genuinely offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re diving into its rich history, lounging on its pristine beaches, or navigating its bustling markets, there’s no shortage of experiences awaiting you.

For the adventurous, paragliding over the iconic Ölüdeniz or trekking through the Saklikent Gorge are must-dos. For those seeking a cultural immersion, the Lycian rock tombs and the remnants of Kayaköy provide a deep dive into the region’s past. As you wrap up your trip, you’ll realize that Fethiye isn’t just a stop on a Turkish itinerary; it’s a highlight. Don’t rush your visit; take your time to soak in all that this Mediterranean gem has to offer.

The best places to live in Fethiye, Turkey for all types of travelers
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